The cost of the massive tornado that battered an Oklahoma City suburb could be more than $2 billion, according to a preliminary official estimate announced Wednesday. This early damage tally is based on visual assessments of the extensive disaster zone that stretches for more than 17 miles, is 4 miles wide, and the fact that Monday’s tornado was on the ground for 40 minutes.
Authorities have yet to say how many homes were damaged or destroyed, but an aerial view of the site shows whole neighborhoods obliterated, with gouged earth littered with splintered wood and pulverized cars.
The loss of life cannot be quantified, and neither can the pain and suffering of those impacted by this monster storm, so all we can assess is the cost of damage to property. Let’s take a look at how much devastating weather events in recent memory have cost us.
Hurricane Sandy (October 2012):
Superstorm Sandy struck the east coast last fall, causing an estimated $82 billion dollars in damages to New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
Hurricane Isaac (August 2012):
Hurricane Isaac hit the Gulf Coast, bringing flooding, strong winds and tornadoes with it. Isaac caused an estimated $2.3 billion in damages.
Western Wildfires (Summer/Fall 2012):
Multiple wildfires burned up 9.1 million acres last year. The most intense wildfires were in the western part of the United States. The estimated cost of damage was between $1 and $2 billion.
Hurricane Irene (August 20–29, 2011):
Irene brought over $7.3 billion in total damages. This hurricane hit coastal North Carolina, and moved north along the Mid-Atlantic Coast, causing flooding in the Northeast and numerous tornadoes.
Groundhog Day Blizzard (Jan. 29–Feb. 3, 2011):
Over $1.8 billion in damages/costs resulted from a large winter storm affecting central, eastern and northeastern states. Chicago was at a standstill.
Mississippi River Flooding (Spring–Summer 2011):
An estimated $3–4 billion in total damages were reported. Nearly 300 percent more than normal precipitation amounts in the Ohio Valley combined with melting snow caused historical flooding along the Mississippi River and its tributaries.
Hurricane Katrina (August 2005):
Katrina caused absolute destruction. Preliminary estimates were around $100 billion in damage/costs, making this the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history .
As details trickle in on the extent of damage the Oklahoma tornado caused, we are in absolute shock. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected and wish for a safe and speedy recovery. Be strong, stay safe.